Communication is a vital process within organizations. Stakeholders in all organizations have different personalities and cultural backgrounds; they have to learn how to communicate to each other in order to attain effective competitive advantage over their competitors in the market. Effective communication requires initiators to understand the social and cultural contexts under which they intend to interact with the receivers.
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The piece outlines that cultural differences can distort the meaning of messages sent to receivers; therefore, managers must comprehend the cultural behaviors of all their employees. Markedly, a media capacity used in a given cultural setting may not be effective in another.
Consequently, societal culture and individual perceptions affect the appropriateness of information transfer. If the receiver understands the message from the sender, the communication is considerably effective. In organizations, the mode of communication may depend on the urgency, complexity, and importance of information so that the receiver’s attitude and action changes in response to the message.
For media choice theory, the intention of communication, amount of data or information, and characteristics of the receiver are key factors that determine the choice of media that one uses in communication. The theory holds that all media have a specific capacity to convey knowledge correctly so that the receiver comprehends it properly.
Information context and content influence the attention of viewers; for instance, an organizational employee will pay attention to a formal memorandum than does an outsider. Clearly, lack of richness results in confusions in cross-cultural communication, and the theory helps in understanding effective communication of symbolism that are significant in some cultures.
Besides, societal perceptions influence the effectiveness of information as the beliefs, norms and values guide people’s behaviors, communication, and interpretation of information. Since culture dictates societal interactions, it is inseparable with communication, and any cultural variation will necessitate variation in communication.
In the analysis of different cultural orientations, communication processes are also different implying that culture affects the encoding and coding of messages. Individualism, as a variation of culture affects individual behaviors in achieving goals and gauging value of relationships.
In a societal level, individualists tend to work alone and give their goals first priority, while collectivists tend to work in groups, through collective responsibility. Societies have members that range along the continuum of individualists and collectivists. Individualists have personal feelings and thoughts and are direct in their communication since they only view themselves and not actions of others.
This shows that the group possesses low creativity, analysis, and thinking skills. On the other hand collectivist communicators emphasizes on high context communication in order to comprehend the context under which the receiver will encode the message.
As opposed to individualistic cultures, collectivist cultures embed message content in the communication context, thus necessitating the receiver to know the contextual cues in order to interpret the message appropriately.
Evidently, individualist cultures will regard information sent through less rich media as it does not entail intensive cues. From this aspect, the perceptions that these groups hold reveal the challenges of communicating across cultures.
Power-distance of different cultures affects effectiveness of communication. For instance, societies with small power-distance, subordinates do not wait to be told of what to do while those with high power-distance tend to wait for their superiors to make crucial decisions and instruct them on what to do. In this aspect, there is a clear distinction between the subordinates and the superiors in a high power-distance culture.
Therefore, this culture promotes a specified line of communication from the superiors to the subordinates. On the other hand, low-power-distances cultures can change their medium of communication since they are independent workers. From the analysis, one can have the following questions for further discussion:
- How do individual preference in an uncertainty avoidance and individualism in societal preference relate in affecting effective communication?
- How current managers can adopt to varied cultures given the high rate of globalization?